We hear it a lot, “how do you keep from freezing in an RV?” Well, for the most part, we do what most sane full time RVers do, we head south for the winter to warmer weather. Of course, every once in awhile, mama nature throws a curve our way. Like now, it’s mid April here in the black hills and the “normal” highs are in the 50’s lows in the 30’s. No worries. Unfortunately the pineapple express (weather front blowing in from Hawaii) has thrown everything off kilter this year. It’s been way colder than normal for the nearly 3 weeks we’ve been here and today we’re having “blizzard conditions.” I mean, really? BLIZZARD! in the middle of APRIL?!? No use complaining about it, weather is what it is and it does what it does, regardless of plans, wants and desires of certain snowbirds.
Over the years we’ve learned that while our Minnie Winnie is pretty well insulated underneath, we do still have some freezing issues.
- For lows below 32 but over 20, we just run our propane furnace more, set it about 65 and the heat from the ducting will keep the interior lines from freezing. We just unhook our water line, fill the fresh water tanks and wait it out. Usually at these temps it’ll warm up enough during the day to keep things flowing.
- When lows drop into the teens but over freezing for highs the next day, the lines under the floor may freeze up but they’ll thaw the next day, no big deal.
- A couple of days below freezing with night time lows in the low teens will cause the fresh water tank to freeze. Turn off the pump, it’ll burn itself up trying to pump the frozen water. We use jugs of water for dish washing and emergency toilet flushing. We’ll usually take a small electric space heater and put it in the compartment where the fresh water tank is to thaw it out. Repeated days of freezing can cause cracks and broken pipes, so we try to get it thawed out daily.
- To keep the interior warm (er), we place insulation around anywhere there’s an airflow, especially in the cab (we’re in a class C motorhome). We also hang the fabric privacy divider up between the cab and the “living space” which helps keep the cold air out. We place folded blankets on the entry step near the door at night to block out the cold air.
- We also hang a quilt over the worst offending window wall in the rear bedroom which helps block out the cold radiating from the rear wall.
- Our friend Gail pulls in her rear slide which helps keep her unit warm, and sleeps in the bunk which is “inside” the main body of the RV rather than the bedroom rear slide extension.
- Wear a sweater and fluffy bunny slippers, keep the hot tea flowing and the biscuit tin close at hand.
- Suck it up, bundle from head to toe and do the walk of shame. We continue to use the park comfort station for showering and other daily toilet needs. We can still use our own toilet, flushing with jug water but the blizzard walk is an adventure right? 😉
Final advice if you’re determined to spend a longer period of time in cold weather. Skirt your rig, choke it up, buy a custom skirting package it’ll save you all kinds of problems in the long run. Do lots and lots of research about living in an RV in cold climates, there’s tons of information out there that will better equip you than I could ever hope to because my personal opinion is that I don’t live in an RV to deal with cold weather. I’ll do it short term when nature throws me a curve ball, but that doesn’t mean I like it.
So for now, I’m going to go snuggle up with a wubbie (personal blanket), my hot tea, and a good book. For tonight, the perfect cocoa, the recipe has been around as long as I have but it’s still the best.
HERSHEY’S “Perfectly Chocolate” Hot Cocoa
A creamy, chocolatey delicious beverage fit for most any occasion imaginable
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups milk (1 qt.)
1/3 cup water hot
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in medium saucepan; stir in water. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil and stir 2 minutes. Add milk; stir and heat until hot. Do Not Boil. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Beat with whisk until foamy. About six 6-ounce servings.
Note: Recipe may be doubled.
VARIATIONS: Add one of the following with the vanilla extract.
CINNAMON COCOA: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
MINT COCOA: 1/2 teaspoon mint extract OR 3 tablespoons crushed hard peppermint candy.
MOCHA COCOA: 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered instant coffee.